I am kicking off my St. Baldrick’s fundraiser today, and I’m a bit nervous. Why?
I decided I was going to tie the amount I raise to the amount I cut off. Part of me (the competitive part) wants to raise $10,000 and basically get a buzz cut, but most of me is terrified I am going to raise $10,000. (I realize it’s highly unlikely. But I had to set the goal high enough to be a really impressive goal and low enough not to be a jerk about it.)
I’m a pushover, so I took the boys to watch their friends play in the 5/6 grade soccer championships, which they also won. This is a statue near the fields. (Be grateful you didn’t get another picture of random kids playing soccer.)
I read about 100 books. (I didn’t keep track, but I think it’s safe to say 100.)
I sewed a million things. (Who knows? I also didn’t keep track.)
I went on 3 trips. (Serbia, Virginia/NY, Orlando)
I worked out at Orangetheory 85 times.
I wrote 46 blog posts (shameful!)
In 2020, I hope to read just as many books, and I probably won’t keep track of them. I’ll keep sewing, and hopefully I’ll get better about keeping track of my makes. I’m definitely going to travel more (Lisbon this month, Vienna in the spring, hopefully the UK in the summer, and Orlando again in the fall – all but one are work trips.) I have a goal of averaging 3 OTF workouts a week, but let’s say 150 workouts throughout the year. And since I’ve started another 366 project, my blog post count should definitely go up!
2019 in photos
Was on sabbatical! Turned 44! Kristina came to visit!
Still on sabbatical!
Rompers for my cousin’s sons
Mario shirt for Miles
Purple masks – $22
Mardi Gras! Bought a new car! Sabbatical ended, went back to work.
Marching in Alla
Me as Frida
Went to Serbia for work! Took the boys to Natchitoches!
Inside the High School Building
Ran a 5K with the boys, sewed things, soccer ended (for the spring), went on a field trip.
I made a bunch of shirts for Isa’s quinceanera! Soccer again!
Road trip to Virginia and New York!
Linus cheering for his team
The boys started middle school! Uncle Evan and Ellie came to visit! I sewed a dress for a friend!
Went to Orlando for the Grand Meetup!
Hmm. Soccer? Yeah. Also I sewed stuff like Halloween costumes.
Aunt Jenny and Uncle Rob and Emily and Andrew came for Thanksgiving! The boys started school soccer! I sewed a cool jacket!
The boys turned 12! Christmas! We closed out the year with a bathroom flood!
The silence is deafening. There’s no sound of a soccer ball being kicked around the kitchen, banging into cabinets, making me cringe every time I hear it hit the dishwasher or the oven. I don’t hear YouTube videos about some soccer game or how to solve a Rubik’s cube or how to bake the perfect snickerdoodles. I don’t hear FIFA ’19 being played while an 11 year-old commentates in a bad British accent.
All I hear is the air conditioner, sometimes a car driving by, maybe Ziggy barking at a UPS truck.
It’s blissful, and it’s the only week of the summer I’m going to get this peace. The boys are at camp at Jean Lafitte National Park, and the best part is, it’s not far from George’s work, so he’s even driving them! Heaven.
The quiet is especially welcome because it’s been a busy week. Terry’s daughter’s quinceañera was Saturday night, and I was feverishly sewing shirts for the males in the house, and finished them just in time.
Here is a pic of the boys in their shirts:
And a family pic at the quinceañera, but you can’t see that the colors in their shirts perfectly coordinate with the Upton dress I made last summer. That was not even on purpose! A happy coincidence.
A few more pics from that night:
And then on Monday, Oliver and Miles were in the background of a tv show that’s coming up. We had to be at the zoo at 5:30am, which was not fun. Linus went to camp by himself that day.
Meanwhile, I can’t even really work out much because I have tendonitis in my right shoulder, which suuuucks. It means I can’t do more than half of the exercises at Orangetheory – no rowing, no upper body anything, nothing that requires a plank position, nothing that uses my shoulder. Blah. At least it’s not something worse. Shoulders scare me. But it means my arms are going to turn from fierce guns to blobs of goo.
On a happier note, in just two weeks, Kiki gets here and we start our road trip to Virginia! So exciting!
What’s up? Why haven’t I been blogging? Is it that life is boring? Maybe a little. I mean, not that that’s a bad thing. Or maybe it’s been busy? Or maybe I just don’t want to sit in front of my computer when I’m not working? Maybe all of those things all at once?
(I started this post two days ago. What is wrong with me?)
Okay, here’s some random stuff we’ve been doing:
I chaperoned a field trip to the swamp and we saw lots of gators! Yay! Finally!
I finally sent Kiki the skirt we bought the fabric for in January. Egads. Look at the frogs and the flies!
The boys and I did a 5K! Oliver and Linus ran the whole thing (!) and finished in about 34 minutes. Miles and I walked with Jen and Ethan and took about twice that. It was fun. Oh, and it was the Pink Bra Run to raise money for breast cancer research, hence the…bra on the outside of my clothes.
The boys had an end-of-season soccer party. It was kind of sad, but also cemented all of the reasons in my head we decided not to do competitive soccer again next year. I mean, we may go back one day, but probably not to the same club. Anyway, the coach had shirts made for all the boys, which was so sweet.
George and Rob celebrated their birthday and I made them a cake. (Chocolate stout.) Aren’t they cute?
For Mother’s Day, I got cards from the boys (and breakfast from Chef Ollie!). Later I had poke for lunch (yum) and went to see a movie with Steph and Terry (our Mother’s Day tradition.) It was pretty nice.
Look at this beauty! My aunt passed on to me my grandmother’s old sewing machine! Isn’t she beautiful? I’m still working on getting it sewing, but I am stuck on bobbins. I’ll figure it out. I also need a table to put it in. I found the one its sitting on, but it was made for a different machine, so I need the table to be modified so this machine will fit in it. Anyway. Soon, I hope to be sewing with it! It’s pretty incredible. It’s from 1950.
As far as Me Made May goes, it’s been a success in some ways, and a fail in others. A success in that I have worn something I’ve sewn every day. A fail because I haven’t taken pictures every day. But just picture this cardigan, which I absolutely adore, worn over everything, all the time, every day. It’s the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan in this lemon knit I got at Joann’s. I’m obsessed. (Need to get a better pic, though.)
The last time I wrote about what I was up to was in late January, at the mid-point of my sabbatical. Oops. Today is actually a bonus day off – I have thought for the entire three months that I was going back to work today, but I’m actually going back tomorrow. My last day off is today. Score! I sure was smart way back when I requested my time off. I was pretty bummed when I realized I was going to be going back to work right after Mardi Gras break, with no down time from the boys being home from school for a week and a half. So it’s nice to have some quiet time today to straighten up the house and get some things done and just to chill.
SO. What have we been up to?
A lot, actually.
Let’s see if I can remember it all.
First, I want to say that I really thought my sabbatical would fly by. I guess to everyone else it has, but to me, it really hasn’t. It felt like three months. It felt like a nice long stretch of time. Mid-December feels like a long time ago. I think maybe it’s because I didn’t try to fill it with too much stuff. I really did relax and laze around a bunch. 😀 Continue reading →
Last week (on Wednesday), I turned 44 and it was a great birthday week. I’ll try not to make this too wordy, but I mean, a lot of fun stuff happened, so I may fail.
We have to start on Tuesday when the washing machine broke. I know, this birthday week isn’t starting out too promisingly, is it? Particularly since it was the day the boys went back to school, and I had literally been counting down the minutes until I had some peace and quiet and solitude in the house. Instead, I had our friend Chris come over to try to fix the washer (he determined it wasn’t easily fixable, and we’d already fixed this thing a zillion times) so happy early birthday to me, I went to Home Depot and picked out a new washing machine.
I mean, exciting, except for the part where you have to pay for a new washing machine. (It wasn’t delivered until Saturday, but I’ll skip ahead and show you a picture of this beautiful giant that can wash enormous loads of laundry.)
Aw, our poor lil’ dryer is dwarfed by it.
Okay, so Tuesday night is when the excitement really started. Kiki flew in! I picked her up and we went to Mopho for dinner and had pho and these really delicious chicken wings.
And then Wednesday, it was my birthday! Yay!
I woke up bright ‘n’ early with the boys and got them off to the bus stop, and then Kristina and I went to Orangetheory, where, duh, we wore shirts that I made (kind of like the ones I made for our trip to Harry Potter World.)
I got so many birthday wishes! This was a great idea she had. Definitely do this on your birthday.
Next, we went home to shower, then hopped on the ferry (it was a gorgeous day) with mimosas and met Teresa for lunch at French Toast. (I’m friends with the owners, and I had been wanting to check it out since it’s pretty new.)
Next, we went in search of a king cake since I knew that it would make the boys happy, and it could also stand in for my birthday cake. After we found it, we got an Uber back to the house so we could meet the boys at the bus stop.
We hit up Ann Frances’s birthday party for a while and took our usual birthday pic together. ❤
We rested for a little while and then we went and had pizza for dinner at Tavolino, a restaurant in the neighborhood.
And after dinner, the boys gave me cards (Linus didn’t want me to share his, but here are the ones I got from Oliver and Miles, and of course I cried a bit.)
And then we had king cake!
And then Kiki and I went to have a nightcap at the pub. But we didn’t last too long, we were exhausted.
Thursday, Kristina spent the morning cleaning the crap out of my kitchen, which is basically her favorite thing to do. Meanwhile, I got a much-needed haircut.
Later, we went to a fabric store that I love so Kristina could pick out fabric for the skirt I was going to make her. Then we went to get 80 minute massages at a spa. Oh man, that was heavenly! That night, we made a pot of Italian sausage and kale and tortellini soup for the grown ups and sushi rolls for the kids. I also made a cucumber salad for the boys AND THEY ATE IT AND LIKED IT. So obviously the apocalypse is upon us.
Friday morning, we went back to Orangetheory, and then had a late lunch at Turkey and the Wolf. We split a bologna sandwich and a collard green melt. It was good, for sure, but we were both scratching our head a bit at how a hipster sandwich place got named “Best New Restaurant in America.” (The collard green melt was too spicy for me, sad sad sad.)
Kristina spent every spare moment organizing my pantry and the rest of the kitchen, and it’s pretty amazing right now. She loves to do that stuff. And then she was supposed to leave Saturday evening, but there was snow forecast where she lives for Saturday night, so she changed her flight to Saturday morning. SAD PAM.
I brought her to the airport while the new washer was being delivered, and then spent the rest of the day resting and getting ready for the CAMAN Ball that I was attending that night with friends. It was a speakeasy theme, and it was a lot of fun getting all glammed up. Jen was my date.
Oh wait, so now I have to tell you about the presents I got because it’s kind of funny how excited I am about them. Well, funny if you don’t sew. But George got me a cordless iron! And my mom got me nice scissors (now I really do feel bad for sneaking her nice scissors for cutting paper when I was little) and a new ironing board! I mean, not just ANY ironing board. This thing is TALL and WIDE and NOT WOBBLY and the base for my new iron sits on a holder on the end and it doesn’t squeak and it’s all very very exciting. If you sew, anyway. Also my lovely friends got me Joann gift cards and THE FUN NEVER STOPS.
A few months ago, I was flipping through Real Simple and in the “Your Words” section, they asked readers to write about their greatest accomplishment of 2018. I’ve never been inspired to write in before, but I emailed off a little snippet about my greatest obsession accomplishment of 2018.
I got an email a few weeks later saying they might use what I wrote in the December issue, and THERE IT IS!!! So exciting. And yet so nerdy.
We were on our cruise when the issue came in the mail, so I had to beg my friend Jenn to dig through our mail and take a picture of it for me. I knew it was in there because someone tweeted to let me know.
I think it’s time for another blog post full of randomness.
My sabbatical starts in 32 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes, and 43 seconds! (A bit less by the time I actually post this, of course.)
And our cruise is coming up fast (don’t bother robbing us while we’re gone, we’re going to have a house sitter. Plus we have nothing to steal unless you like fabric. Please don’t steal my fabric.) and I’m working on shorts for the boys.
After the cruise is the boys’ school Winter Fair and my friend Bea is having a booth and she’s letting me sell some of my bags! So exciting! So I uh, need to make some bags. I wish I could bring my sewing machine on the cruise. Hmm.
Remember when I tripped and skinned my knees like a little kid in my friend’s backyard way back in August? (I may not have mentioned it here.) Well, I also hurt my right foot a bit at the time, but not a ton, but it’s just been bugging me ever since. I finally went to my orthopedist and he confirmed it was nothing major, which was a relief. It’ll just take a while to heal, and it’s fine to continue exercising and not do the things that make it hurt (mostly lunges and burpees OH DARN and anything that causes me to flex my toes.)
But what I found out that was interesting is that I have extra bones in my foot! Under my toes! And they’re all broken up! Most people only have this tiny bone under their big toe, but I have them under all of my toes, and they should be in one piece, but they’re in a few pieces. He said that is due to some old trauma, and it wasn’t causing my pain, it was just an interesting discovery that we found because of the x-rays I had.
If I had to guess, the “trauma” was running twomarathons and 13 half marathons overweight. Whatevs.
In other news, competitive soccer is done for the fall, but school soccer has begun! It’s not as time-consuming, though. But I do have to pick them up from school a couple of times a week. But that’s okay, I guess.
OH, this is exciting – I have been wanting to volunteer in a NICU starting during my sabbatical but I hadn’t had much luck getting into any of the programs in local hospitals. Finally, I got a call back from two hospitals, even though neither of them had openings in the NICU. I chose the local Children’s hospital because it’s smaller. I went to volunteer orientation, got my TB test (negative, whew) and some other tests, and I’m just waiting for an interview now so I can be put on the schedule. To start, I’ll be walking people around the hospital so they don’t get lost (it’s kind of a maze) but at some point, I’ll get into the NICU to rock babies. I’m in this for the long haul, so no rush. I can be patient.
So sabbatical plans:
Organize house (i.e., throw away a lot of stuff)
Volunteer at hospital, hopefully get to rock some babies at least
See Kiki at some point
Work out a lot, make muscles bigger
In yet other news, my lemon tree might be dying. My black thumb strikes again. I’m so sad. It was full of lemons, but they abruptly stopped growing at some point, but ripened really fast, and ended up the size of ping pong balls instead of grapefruit like last year. The leaves on the tree are all withered and it’s v sad. It doesn’t look good.
My theories are either that the Bradford pear next to it is stealing all the sunlight (but surely it wasn’t that much shorter last year?) or something to do with fresh, healthy lemon tree growth at the base of the tree? Sapping all the nutrients from the rest of the tree? I have no idea.
Anyhoo, that’s about it for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I hit “publish” but I’d better do it before I have to change the sabbatical countdown at the top of the post again.
I have to post about this because Friday night was the most fun night ever!
Stephanie and I went to a live show at the Orpheum of our favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder. If you like true crime (I mean, I guess I must) and cursing and laughing, you should definitely listen. If you don’t like all three of those things, maybe stick to This American Life.
Back in October, tickets went on sale. I was in London at the time and just finishing up a meeting when the time came for sales to start. I tried and tried and tried and just could not get tickets. Meanwhile, back in the States, Stephanie was also trying. Thank goodness she was able to get a pair for us. Not just any pair – second row, VIP!
VIP meant we’d get a few goodies but best of all, we’d get to meet the hosts, Karen and Georgia after the show! Eeek! For months, Steph and I planned what we were going to wear (I’d make shirts for sure, but what would they say?!?) and what we’d give them. (People often give them a little gift at the meet and greet.) Continue reading →